Episode 31: Jenn Uren on Being the Boss of Mom GuiltAug 31, 2021
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 31
Today we are going to talk about mom guilt and how we can leverage it when it comes to balancing home and business, or maybe more accurately, integrating home and business.
You’ve heard me say that every business “yes” can feel like a parenting “no” – and that’s when mom guilt kicks in.
Mom guilt! We know it when we feel it, but what exactly is it?
Mom guilt, when left untamed, is an emotion that can consume us. In that state it most definitely has a negative impact on us as it can leave us feeling shamed, discouraged, and paralyzed. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Imagine mom guilt as the line in a fraction. Most of the time we are under that line in the spot of the denominator where we bear the weight that mom guilt brings. It is a posture of scarcity and the more mom guilt we feel, the less value we place on ourselves and our roles.
But imagine moving to the top of that line and living in the spot of the numerator. That is a posture of abundance! It places us in control of that line of mom guilt and allows us to leverage it in a way that increases the value we place on ourselves and our roles.
When stop being consumed by mom guilt and start using it, we can integrate home and business in a way that allows us to really thrive as mompreneurs. Since mom guilt is generally a reflection of how we are feeling, it is important to pay attention to the things that can feed into it.
There are two things we can do to stop feeding mom guilt: change our mindset and change how we approach out time.
Let’s start first with mindset.
I’m going to share with you 3 ways that mom guilt can be leveraged to make us better as mompreneurs. Each of these requires a shift in mindset. It’s subtle, but powerful!
Mom Guilt is a Warning Flag
When we start to feel mom guilt about something, it is not necessarily a reflection of who we are as mom. Instead, it is a warning that something is off – especially as it concerns our kids. It’s letting us know that right now there is a potential problem and if we don’t make changes, it can become an actual problem.
So how do we leverage this? Pay attention to when you feel that mom guilt. Is it kicking into high gear around 4 each afternoon when your kids walk in the door and you’re still on a business call? Is it kicking in when you sit in the waiting room at gymnastics working instead of watching them? Keep track of those times and you will begin to see patterns. In this example, it is in moments when our kids need us to engage as mom.
By paying attention, you can make simple changes to your routines to be present in these important mom moments. Perhaps you make it a hard and fast rule that you are off all calls by 3:50 and prepping an after school snack for your child so that you can transition with them as they arrive home and give them the gift of time. (Trust me, these short minutes are a huge deposit in their memory bank and will be looked back on fondly as more significant than they feel now.) Or maybe you decide that during gymnastics you will listen to that business book on audio so you can stand at the window and watch but still use that time efficiently.
Paying attention will tell us what we need to tweak in how we approach our day so that we are hitting the most important aspects of being a mom while running a business.
Mom Guilt is a Thermometer
Similar to, but different than being a warning flag, mom guilt can be a thermometer of our own approach to integrating home and business as a mompreneur. Just like when our kids are sick, taking their temperature clues us in to if they are healthy or sick, mom guilt clues us in to how things are going. If we’re feeling a lot of mom guilt, something may be no longer functioning in a healthy way and it needs to be addressed – especially as it pertains to our own selves.
So how do we leverage this? Just like with the warning flag, we pay attention. Are we getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Exercising? Delegating things we don’t need to be doing? What is it that mom guilt is letting us know is not functioning in a healthy manner?
Taking the time to think that through is going to let us know what we need to change or shift into a higher priority. Do we need a water bottle to carry with us? Or come up with a plan to go to be bed by 9:30? Or have a family meeting to rework the distribution of family chores?
Paying attention will help us ensure that we are ready to be our best for our family and our clients.
Mom Guilt is a Motivator
Sometimes the best way to flip things around is to use it as motivation. Mom guilt points out all the negative things and focuses on where we aren’t “enough”.
So how do we leverage this? You guess it! Pay attention! And then turn that guilt on it’s head by using it against itself. When mom-guilt tells us that we are always pointing out our kids mistakes, we can use that as motivation to intentionally “catch” them doing things well and pointing those out. Or when it tells us that we don’t read enough with them, we can take that as a challenge to find opportunities to read. Opportunities like when we are waiting for the bus to pick them up. Imagine the natural cliff-hangers that the approaching bus will create!
Paying attention will give us motivation to grow in places we might not otherwise have thought about.
The bottom line is this – mom guilt robs us of so many things when we let it consume us. So by stepping over that line and flipping the equation, we can rob it of its power over us.
Responding to mom guilt by seeing it as a warning, a thermometer, and a motivator is great!
The second thing that we can do to minimize the impact of mom guilt is by using micro-routines.
One of the biggest enemies of the mompreneur is the constant need to get things done in the midst of constant interruption. Transitions can take awhile and every start or stop is a transition point. When they are planned, we do great! But when they are unexpected – like a phone call or the doorbell ringing or the kid yelling mom! – they can really knock us out of sync. And that’s where micro-routines come into play.
You already do them and might not even realize it! When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do? Maybe get out of bed, use the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee, and sit in a comfy chair to read for a few minutes? Or what about bedtime?
Even if you haven’t named it, you practice micro-routines.
What we are going to do, is name them, and place them in our schedule.
If you have an hour to work in the morning before the kids get up, what should you work on? Not knowing will cost you time, but if you have a micro-routine planned out and practiced, you will know what to do.
Maybe your micro-routine is built around communication. You check email, answer what needs a response and file the rest. Then you check your FB and IG messages, and answer those. Then you go through your social media posts and engage with the comments. Staying focused with this micro-routine means you stay on top of your communication and you start your day without surprises.
Or maybe your micro-routine is built around tracking goals. Over lunch on Thursdays you take 15-minutes to review your plan to achieve your goal and adjust anything that needs to be adjusted.
We teach our kids to do this, too. When they clean the bathroom, it’s a micro-routine. They have a specific list of what has to be done in order to accomplish the purpose of that time.
Over time, micro-routines become habits. But a key difference between a habit and a micro-routine is that we document the micro-routine with a checklist. Why? For consistency and for adaptability.
When we have a checklist we make sure nothing is left to memory which lifts a burden and gets a consistent result every time. Many restaurants do this to ensure that no matter who make something, you will have a consistent experience whenever you order. Our local Chinese place does not do this – and the same dish ordered three times will be three different experiences. When it comes to consistent productivity, that is not the time for creativity.
But sometimes we notice that things change. When we moved homes, our chores needed to be adapted to the new space. By having a checklist, instead of starting over, we were able to simply change the handful of things that required adapting due to the new space and the routine happened without missing a beat!
Placing micro-routines into your day will give you the structure around which to build your work. You will know what is happening when and this will leave you space for the other things that your business requires – creating, connecting, and serving.
So take that mom guilt, and flip the equation by putting it to work for you.
Some of the mompreneurs listening are going to hear this and know what they need to do to move forward, but most mompreneurs – and maybe you’re one of them – are thinking, “This is great, but I don’t even know where to start!”
I am right there with you! We can be our own hardest customers because we are too close to see things with a proper perspective. I have some great news for you! This Mom Knows is rolling out a coaching program. It will be an opportunity for you to have space to process through and focus on your specific situation, challenges, and goals, and work with me on finding and implementing the solutions that will help you focus your time and grow your business.
If that sounds good to you, then I invite you to join the coaching waitlist. Hop on over to ThisMomKnows.com and at the bottom of the homepage you can add your name to the waitlist to learn more as this program rolls out in a few weeks.